Erik's Training Log
Training has begun. Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon: 1:43:44 (while pushing my son in his adaptive wheelchair).
The beginning of the school year is here. So far this calendar year, I've run over 1600 miles. My longest run this year was a 16-miler that I did on August 14. My long Sunday runs are going to continue to get longer, peaking with a run of 26-30 miles in early October (UPDATE: I DID 28 MILES ON OCTOBER 2). I'll try to update this page every week or so. If you want to follow my training and have a Garmin Connect account, please go to connect.garmin.com and search for my profile: erikheine.
Getting up to run before school is not natural for me, but running in 70º darkness is preferable to running in 90º+ sunshine. I've had a couple of good long runs, but I'm really looking forward to the temperatures going down and slowing down my pace so that I can be out for 2 1/2-3 hours, and even longer. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement.
Crossed 1800 miles run for the year on Tuesday morning. Labor Day weekend was good to me. (I think the calorie count is a bit low for that far, but who's counting?)
I've had a tremendous three weeks of training since I last updated. I've had two weeks of more than 60 miles, and one week of over 70 miles. In that week, I actually did a double one day: 11 miles in the morning, 6 miles in the evening. However, I'm not 17 anymore, and that pretty well beat me up. It took nearly a week to get the spring back in my legs.
My long runs on Sunday have been fantastic: 22.72 (3 hours), 20.05 (2:36 hours), and 26.86 miles (3:30) The race is in four weeks, and I'm getting mentally prepared for moving for twelve hours. My body is almost ready. Here's the biggest long run yet (I came through the marathon distance in 3:24:47, a respectable time); not anywhere close to maximum effort, just a solid run.
The cooler morning temperatures made this an enjoyable week, even before dawn! I ran 71.2 miles during the week ending on October 1 (Sept 25-Oct 1), and nearly all of my runs were at a sub-8:00/mile pace. I hadn't had a harder fast run in a while, so I went for one on Wednesday morning: 6.31 miles at a 6:56/mile pace. That's waaaaaaay faster than I'll be going in the 12-hour race, but it's nice to know that it's there when I need it. I was even able to push my son a little over 8 miles at a 7:42/mile pace. Pushing 100 pounds of chair and boy is unlike anything else. It certainly makes running solo much easier!
On Sunday, October 2, I went for my last really long run. For this run, I tried to simulate the 12-hour race as closely as possible: I was out just after 6am, didn't pause my watch for water or Gu breaks, and tried to run an even pace. I ended up with a performance with which I am pleased, and one that gives me a great deal of confidence heading into the race.
I had a monster month of running in September. I ran just over 280 miles. I began September at 1747 miles for the year, which means I crossed 1800, 1900, and 2000 during the month, and then a little more. I also did it at the fastest cumulative pace I've ever run. This challenge, this event, is not something that I take lightly. I always take Fridays off to recover (6 days of running, 1 day of rest), and because of the way the calendar fell, there were 5 Fridays, which means that I only ran 25 days in September, but still did 280 miles. Even when my off days are added, I averaged about 9.35 miles on my rest days!'
I put times and distances in here because I am trying to impress you. I want you to be proud of the performance that I hope to deliver on October 22, and I want you to be impressed and share this with everyone you know. I want you to be so amazed that you'll consider donating to this scholarship. We haven't raised enough money yet, and I really need your help. Please consider donating or making a per-mile pledge. I'm just the vehicle - the music students of OCU will be the beneficiaries!
My training for this race is done. I'm now in rest mode, saving energy for Saturday's race. I can hardly believe that it's only two days away. It doesn't seem that long ago that I came to Dean Mark Parker about this idea, but it was about 10 months ago. It really doesn't seem that long ago that he announced it, but it was about 9 weeks ago. And here I am, less than 48 hours away from this event.
As it is with any long-term goal, the reward isn't the final goal, but the journey taken to get there. I've put in almost 2200 miles this calendar year (2190, to be exact), and along the way, I've lost a little weight, pushed my disabled son in a half marathon (1:43:44), and hopefully inspired many people along the way. I've had students ask me about my running, and friends ask about my eating habits. I've gotten faster.
Events that are so highly publicized can go smashingly, or they can go poorly, or somewhere in between. As a music professor, I know that the performance is the culmination of hours upon hours of rehearsal, practice, and preparation. A little bit of anxiety is a good thing; it keeps us sharp. Nervousness means that the performer is not prepared, and knows it. At this point, I'm mostly excited, and a little anxious. But I know I've put in the miles, the time, and I'm prepared for whatever happens. If a worst-case scenario occurs, so be it, but I'm going for a best-case scenario. I've played out, in my head, the mileage that I want to achieve for every two hour segment, as both a "Plan A" and a "Plan B." Plan B will get me to 50 miles. Plan A will take me much further. I'm shooting for Plan A.
The ultrarunning community is one of the kindest, most supportive groups of people that I have ever encountered. I'm so excited to spend time running dozens of miles on a loop that is just short of one mile with people from all across the United States. This quote was recently shared with me: "Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." (Theodore Roosevelt)
5:00am comes early. Not every run will feel good. Not every run will be "the best." My attempt is daring to be great, in an effort to inspire others to help me create this scholarship. This scholarship can help OCU students be great, to accomplish and achieve great performances. Please consider donating to this endeavor. My next post will be after the race. My legs my be spent, but my heart won't be. Thank you for all of your support, and I hope to see lots of friendly faces at Bluff Creek on Saturday the 22nd.
It's now Thursday, October 27. My race occurred five days ago. Enough time has passed that I am able to talk about it now. While it may be your first question, it isn't the most important: I ran 71.85 miles in 12 hours. The journey of the day is far more interesting.
Our little one-year-old woke up with a diaper blowout at 3am, but my wife was able to get him back to sleep. I had the alarm set for 4am, so I got in a little more rest, and when the alarm sounded at 4, I popped up out of bed, excited for the day. I got dressed, had a breakfast of an avocado and a hash brown, and gathered all of my "day of" belongings, since I'd set up my test the previous morning.
I left the house around 5am and headed out to the park. Different weather apps gave different temperature readings, anywhere from 47º to 54º. That may not sound like much, but running in 47º means an extra two hours of cooler temperatures. Once I got out to the park, I unpacked, put on my iPod, and put on my game face. If you've ever run a 5K, you've likely seen people getting ready by running short sprints or just getting loose. There's none of that here. The first hour is for getting loose! We were called to the start line shortly before 6am, given a short set of instructions, and then we were off. I had a lead for about 60 meters, and one guy shot past me. Because I was so excited, I went with him, and ended up running my first mile in about 7:18, far too fast for what the day had in store. I had to keep telling myself to run my own race and not worry about anything else. The expression "It's a marathon, not a sprint" is somewhat apropos, but this version is "It's a 12-hour race, not a 3-hour race."
I ran 8 laps in the first hour (1 lap = 0.971 miles), and almost another 8 in the second hour. At this point, I was cranking out 7:40-7:50 miles, not feeling like I was working too hard. All of the pre-dawn training was proving effective (I ran loops in the dark all summer and all through the semester). I hit the marathon point just after 3 hours and 30 minutes into the race, and hit 30 miles shortly after 4 hours. It was now just after 10am, and the weather was heating up. My plan was to bank 30 miles by 10:15am, and then hold on as much as possible for the rest of the day. Here was the new battle: 10 miles every 2 hours. For a runner, 12-minute miles are almost too slow, but when other issues like hydration and food are factored in, it starts to feel normal.
I didn't have to start walking until mile 32 or 33, and that's when it started to get hard. This course has a lot of rolling hills. After 5 loops, it doesn't make a difference, but after 35 loops, the legs hurt. I made it to 41 miles at the halfway/6-hour point. It was now noon, and friends were started to appear in my tent! And I was on pace to hit 70 miles! The best part about running on a loop is that I get big cheers every mile, and that's what kept me going. Knowing that I had to be running when I came around the corner before the tent kept me motivated.
I hit 50 miles in 7 hours and 51 minutes, and this is when I had serious hopes about reaching 70. The next two hours were incredibly difficult, as it was the hottest part of the day, and I was struggling. Eating is difficult in a race like this; I ate grilled cheese, pickles, and hamburger bites. I drank water, Skratch, had a couple cups of Coke, and even went for pickle juice once, in an attempt to ward off cramping.
I reached the 100 kilometer mark (62.23 miles) in a little over 10 hours, but at this point I was really suffering. At 10 hours, I had 63 laps. My goal had shifted from 70 miles to completing 73 laps, which would have been closer to 71 miles than 70. 10 laps to go. 5 laps each hour. By now, I was walking about 1/4 mile, and running the other (almost) 3/4, but I was having to stop every lap for hydration, rather than every other lap, and that takes time. But my family came out a second time, and then current students came out. I got a big rush from that, and found a way to pound out 5.5 laps in Hour 11.
At some point in the afternoon, I stopped seeing the leader's name on the board. I thought maybe he had dropped out. Then I saw that hourly updates were being printed. At the 8-hour mark, I knew that I had a one-lap lead. By Hour 10, it was 2 laps, and at the start of Hour 11, it was close to 3 laps. I started feeling pretty confident that I could win, so I took an unplanned walking break. It was a mistake. He blew past me like I was standing still, which, to be honest, I almost was! It was the kick in the rear that I needed. I was starting lap 68. I needed to go if I was going to win. But I was running on fumes. I got back to the tent before crossing the timing mat, and someone asked me if I needed anything. My response: "I need it to be 6pm!" I had to just keep moving. Run a little, walk a little. Turning on the machine hurt, but stopping would be worse. I had completed 71 laps with 42 minutes to go in the race, when I decided to hydrate one last time and walk a bit. I ended up walking a lap with a wonderful gentleman, Alan Countryman. It was just what I needed to fight through to the end. We had a wonderful chat while walking a 15-minute mile, and it recharged my batteries enough to get through the last 20 minutes. I knew that I could run two more laps, and finished lap 72 with exactly 20 minutes to go. I had already started to run, and I wasn't stopping until the end. I also hadn't seen the guy behind me, which meant that I had more than a 1-lap lead with 20 minutes to go. And if I was running the whole time, I wouldn't get passed, and I'd win! I cranked out a 9:05 lap for #73, and then found a way to go faster, an 8:59 lap for #74! I crossed the timing mat with less than a minute to go, kept charging through the aid tent, and made it a little further before I was done and the end of the race was signaled. I put my flag in the ground and headed back toward the aid station for some food and drink.
The best part about the last hour is that when my family left, my students took their place. They cheered. They laughed. They took the time to come out and cheer for their professor, not for extra credit, not to gain favor, but because they thought I could use the support, and they were right. That's why I did this: for them, for the OCU students. We have wonderful students, and I want to be able to help them. Some issues I can help with, particularly those in the classroom, but I cannot help with financial issues. This is my way to try to help in that area.
I left it all on the pavement on October 22. I was able to write thank you notes to people who donated and pledged well before the race, and my last sentence was always, "October 22 will be a great day!" It turned out to be better than great. It was amazing. I cannot thank everyone enough for their support as I trained for this race, and was out there running. Now we have to get this scholarship funded. Please share the video from the main page with anyone who may be interested in why I did what I did. It's not about me. It's about "this professor who wanted to help his students, so he ran almost 72 miles in 12 hours to fund an endowed scholarship. Isn't that cool?"
Thank you for following these updates. I appreciate it more than you can possibly know. I have a new personal running goal, but that's a different sort of challenge. I'll sign off with this quote: "Each person's task in life is to become an increasingly better person." - Leo Tolstoy
Yearly Mileage by Month
October: 162 (before the race)
Number of Miles/Number of Weeks
View Erik's race results here!